Permission (I)

It was through the alley behind our houses
That permitted us to move stealthily

We were able to sneak up on the thieves
Take them alive, without shooting, sometimes

Playing cops and robbers, our siren whoops,
Imagining the flash of red and blue lights

At other times, when the thieves had escaped,
We had to investigate for clues, find some insight

Into how they had escaped us, leading us to track them
Block by block, peering over back fences

Until we found them and brought them to justice
Then our shift was over, we self-styled heroes

Permission (II)

We might as well give them / a permit to shoot up
Shift the blame away from ourselves / and onto them

The alley is long enough / that our view from the street is blocked
And the lights are broken / casting shadows, hiding clues

They have the insight / to find and use this location
Wear long sleeves / to cover their tracks

We walk by, secure in the sirens / and flashing red and blue lights
We style ourselves compassionate / but we’re as alive as they are

Permission (III)

When did that shift happen? Were there clues
That was the direction we were heading?

When did our light dim? When did our alleys darken?
When did we permit tracking and profiling?

Why did we style some blocks as safe?
And others where shootings took place?

Where sirens wailed and families cried
Because one of theirs was no longer alive.

Did we lack insight? Or was it something else
That we lacked to find within ourselves for others?

/ / /

This trio of connected poems was written using the twelve words of Wordle 403 at The Sunday Whirl.

You learn theories of pedagogy

You learn theories of pedagogy
While earning your teaching credential

So many bright sparks in your mind
As you consider each new theory

But so much of that gets left behind
When you’re in the classroom

The theoretical doesn’t seem so important
When you’re standing before so many young people

Your pedagogy shifts to the methodical
The practices that will get you through the day

Then in the midst of teaching algebra
You see all the Xs as kisses rather than unknowns

Days later you’re teaching a bit of geometry
And the circles are hugs rather than areas to be determined

Your pedagogy takes on a mathematical process
Looking carefully, almost scientifically, finding solutions

But it has a creative bent, almost poetical
That acknowledges the art in the theory

And the bright sparks in the young minds
That look up to you for knowledge, not theories

/ / /

This poem was written to the theory prompt at dVerse.


In a few weeks / the school year will end
The summer weeks / will begin

After that / we’ll all start / again
Next school year

Me with new students
You in a new grade / with new teachers

You won’t stop being my student
You just won’t be in my class / everyday / anymore

/ / /

This poem was written to the day thirty prompt at Poetic Asides to write a stop or don’t stop poem.

Duplex (Though I read the directions)

Though I read the directions
I did not know how to get there

     Not knowing how to get there
     I asked for help

I asked for help as best I could
But did not make myself understood

     Making myself understood
     Has long eluded me

What has long eluded me
Is understanding myself

     Trying to understand myself
     Has lead me to many places

For all the many places inside myself
There are no directions to read

/ / /

This poem was written to the day twenty-seven prompt at Poetic Asides to pick a direction. I also incorporated the day twenty-six prompt at NaPoWriMo to write a poem centered around repetition. I was very much inspired by Jericho Brown’s poem “Duplex (I Begin With Love)”.

Evening Dress

I put on my evening dress
And went out for a casual stroll

The sidewalk grew perfectly flat
Tree roots subsided / cracks disappeared

Wheelchairs and strollers rolled smoothly
People began to dance

A little soft shoe / a little slide
Music came from everywhere

Measured was the music
And the hearts of the people were calm

As their bodies swayed into parallel lines
New line dances were invented

Every move was so smooth
All rhythm no blues

A steady beat to the music
Everyone finding a partner

They were on the same level
They looked directly into each other’s eyes

Everything was right
Everything was true

Until I ended my stroll
In my evening dress

/ / /

This poem was written to the prompt at Poetic Asides for day twenty-six to write an evening poem.

The Old Theater

i used to be a passage
people would walk down me

to their seats / to join
their friends and family

then people walked out
without saying goodbye

what am i without my function?
now i’m an ex aisle

/ / /

This poem was written to the exile prompt at Poetic Asides for day twenty-five.


I am not going to expound on the reasons for poetry
Though there are many

It brings joy to the poet and the reader
As well as other emotions / and the occasional thought

It is inherent in humanity / fundamental
As is storytelling, painting, singing, and dancing

But I am not going to justify it to you
You will just argue / there are more important things

And if I try to explain it to you
Then the mystery of it / the experience / is lost

This is not just my opinion
It is shared by countless others

I am not forming an argument
This is not an essay to persuade

I just ask that you read
And be open / and consider

/ / /

This poem was written to the day seventeen prompt at Poetic Asides to write a reason poem.


In the cabin used two weeks a year
The man sits / crestfallen because of the rain.

Across the way, there sits another cabin.
The man peers out his window at this cabin.

There’s always someone in this cabin
As there is now / and light from its windows.

In the second cabin, there too is a man.
His roof is leaking / but he is listening

To the sounds of the rain outside
And the water falling into a bucket inside.

The warmth of his cabin is not touched
By the rain or by the leak in the roof.

It is not his roof / but the roof above him now
And in this moment he is grateful.

/ / /

This poem was written to the Two for Tuesday prompt at Poetic Asides to write a catch poem or a release poem.


Its uh good state two bee inn.
Their iz noh shame inn bearing you’re sole.

You’re spelling May bee bazaar
Az ewe try too comprise an assay,

Butt get you’re words down inn teh frist draught.
Ewe may allways revision them latter.

Ewe must except teh citation,
And entitle you’re assay w/ flare.

Bee shure too sight you’re situations,
And innclued them inn you’re biography.

Peak you’re readers innterest;
Thay will no too what ewe elude.

Do knot censure you’re thoughts,
Butt bee conscience uv discomfit.

Latter, appraise you’re work,
And fax those capitol letters.

Riting will take ewe from confusion
Too uh state uv clearity.

/ / /

This poem was written to the state poem prompt at Poetic Asides and inspired by the day fourteen prompt at NaPoWriMo, especially Taylor Mali’s poem.